Photos credits: Gersh Photography
The First Annual “Black Street” Awards Ceremony kicked-off on September 17, 2012 – Showcasing greatness within the black community. In the words of its CEO & founder, Judith Jacques, “This is a public nomination process, where honor is given in front of a crowd to those who give back to the community.”
Mikki Taylor, Editor-at-Large of ESSENCE Magazine made her debut as the Lifetime of Greatness Honoree at the Black Street Celebration. Taylor, a humble spirit, truly exemplified “Inner and Outer Beauty” likewise her insanely successful book, Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty.
By Fall 2011, another sensation followed, Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady, a book that showcases the great style and sensibility of First Lady Michelle Obama.
When asked how it feels to be an honoree she graciously responded, “It is great to be honored anytime and master our purpose with such great distinction.” “It has been a joy to be of service for so long”.
On how she feels to be a role model, she smiles and says, “I am a reality-checked role model.” “It feels strange and awkward to be on the receiving end and wonderful at the same time”, she explains.
Following such a great Spring 2013 Fashion Week, Mikki Taylor had this to say about African-American fashion, “We never lose a sense of who we are, we are mixologists. We are the style arbiter”.
“Great style begins within”
“The greater your self-awareness, the greater your style” –Mikki Taylor
Absolutely worth mentioning is a little fashion advice from the beauty connoisseur herself. Must haves for Spring are a pair of high boots, a roomy clutch, a “LBD” or better known as your little black dress (definite must have), blouses, and pants – yes, pants are making a comeback.
Justiin Davis “Lester White” co-star on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, here to present the Humanitarian Award to Isaiah Washington. Davis, a young black actor in NYC who relishes in the tight knit community of actors alike says, “I hope to do something prestigious and inspire to change the world,” a dream worthwhile. Asked about his thoughts for the evening, “Tonight is lovely and I love that it is a marker for notable people.”
“A person can go as far as they allow themselves to go” – Justiin Davis
Honoree of the evening, Isaiah Washington, actor, producer and human rights activist presented with the high standing of Humanitarian Honoree; focusing his efforts off-screen with projects aimed at bridging the gap between African-Americans and the African people. Washington discovered his African ancestry after undergoing a genealogical DNA test by African Ancestry, Inc., tracing his roots to the Mendé people of Sierra Leone. His inspirational memoir, “A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life”, he candidly shares his experiences about his trip to “his” Motherland, a world unbeknownst to many. “I want to put a salve on an unspoken conversation”, says Washington.
Inspired by his journey, Washington founded a non-profit, The Gondobay Manga Foundation, advocating cooperative planning to achieve positive, reliable, and timely improvements in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone – one village at a time. “We are making sure the village has a say so.” “Our foundation stay close to the ground and listen to the needs of the people,” Washington explained about the organization close to his heart.
Washington inserts an equally stirring discussion about slavery with a group of Africans.
“In the middle of the meeting I felt compelled to say, ‘Before I’m inducted as an honorary chief tomorrow, my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother says that she forgives you.’”
Additionally stating that when asked what he would have done, Mr. Washington replied, “I would have died before I sold you away.”
This is the heart of a true Humanitarian.
Sabrina Thompson, the Empowerment Honoree, an entrepreneur in her own right, gave words on being honored, “It is amazing that my people are honoring people that look like me.” In regards to her extraordinary and stout community presence, “I am just a little fish in this big pond and I am just trying to make a ripple”, says Thompson.
MIKKI TAYLOR – LIFETIME OF GREATNESS AWARD
ISAIAH WASHINGTON – THE HUMANITARIAN AWARD
SABRINA THOMPSON – THE EMPOWERMENT AWARD